California: A German woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday in California to trying to extort $15 million from a Saudi sheikh by falsely claiming she was sexually assaulted and tortured by his son.
Leyla Ors, 33, allegedly asked for the money from Sheikh Monsur Albalwi, one of the wealthiest in Saudi Arabia, in return for not testifying against his 23-year-old son Thamer Albalwi.
She and her two attorneys, Joseph Gerard Cavallo and Emanuel Karl Hudson, are charged with one count each of attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to receive a bribe and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Ors was additionally charged Monday with one count of offering to receive a bribe, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney`s Office.
She appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty, as did 58-year-old Cavallo. Hudson, also 58, is due to be arraigned on July 30.
Outside court, Cavallo`s attorney, John Barnett, told reporters: "I don`t believe the evidence will show anything like the complaint alleges ...He committed no crime."
If convicted, each of the defendants could face up to four years in jail.
Ors told police in March that she had been raped and tortured by Albalwi, who was charged with four counts of sexual assault as a result of her claims, as well as a physical exam and visible injuries.
In June, Hudson allegedly called Albalwi`s father and told him that for $15 million, Ors would not testify against his son and "the case would be over."
On the same day, Cavallo allegedly called the sheikh and demanded $20 million, to be paid into an account in Lucerne, Switzerland set up to receive the cash.
Ors and the two lawyers were arrested last Thursday. On Friday, LA Superior Court Judge James Dabney dismissed the sexual assault case against Albalwi, the District Attorney`s Office said.
The attorneys were released on bail, but Ors remains in custody.